The African-American actress was at the receiving end of a shocking racially charged insult from U.S. TV fashion journalist Giuliana Rancic last year after she suggested the dreadlocked 20-year-old probably smelled of "patchouli oil and weed" at the Oscars.
The controversial statement turned out to be a huge style motivator for Zendaya, who has since pledged to showcase a variety of ethnic hairdos on the red carpet in a bid to celebrate black hairstyles.
“There was a little girl for Halloween last year that was me from the Oscars,” she tells Allure magazine. “I think that was a big moment not just for me but for women of colour.”
Read more: Zendaya was denied service because of her ‘skin tone’
“I feel a responsibility to showcase different kinds of beauty through hair - every woman should be able to see herself in me in some way,” she adds. “I love when I get to wear my cornrows, because it’s surprising. So many people are like, ‘Wow! What a fresh, new, fun hairstyle!’ But no. It’s been around for a long time. I’m just whipping it out.”
Zendaya and her stylist Law Roach work closely to create unique looks for Hollywood events, and the star admits she is totally against conforming to basic standards of beauty. “We don’t do pretty," she declares. "Pretty is boring.”
However, Zendaya's reluctance to fall prey to fashion conformity doesn't mean the glitz and glamour of a snazzy celebrity party doesn't appeal to her.
“I love to slay a red carpet,” she smiles. “When I step on one, I’m a different person, like Sasha Fierce and Beyonce... On the red carpet, I’m this dainty, slow, elegant gazelle.”
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